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Finland’s top sustainability reports are of high quality

Stora Enso won the overall competition for the third time
Kestävyysraportointikilpailun 2022 voittajat
Winners' panel discussion. Hanna Silvola (left), Joni Mäkitalo (Stora Enso), Shahriare Mahmood (Spinnova), Nina Norjama (Neste), Heikki Myöhänen (Tornator), Minna Kröger (Elisa), and Tiina Puukkoniemi. Photo: Emilia Viitamäki

46 companies participated in the Sustainability Reporting Awards Finland competition during the competition period of May–June 2022. The development of reporting and the utilisation of internationally recognised reporting frameworks were emphasised in all of the top reports. Many companies already adhere to international sustainability reporting frameworks and are therefore more prepared to meet upcoming EU requirements.

‘Sustainability reporting has become an increasingly crucial means of producing information for stakeholders of all organisations, whether they are small or large companies or public sector operators. In addition, the EU is in the process of updating the sustainability reporting directive and standards. With this competition, we once again wanted to acknowledge the preparers of the best sustainability reports in Finland,’ says the chair of the jury, Chief Sustainable Finance Advisor Eila Kreivi from the European Investment Bank.

The best reports were clear and informative

A jury consisting of nine representatives from different organisations evaluated the quality of sustainability reports. This means that the focus in evaluation was on the reporting itself rather than the sustainability performance.

‘In terms of corporate responsibility and sustainable business, reporting is becoming increasingly important. Not only because of existing and upcoming regulations, but also because the reports have an increasing impact on financial decision-making, such as financing decisions,’ says the chair of the organizing group appointed by the Finnish Association of Auditors Tiina Puukkoniemi, who is in charge of corporate responsibility reporting and assurance services at PwC Finland.

The top entries in the competition were of a high quality, and the competition was close as a whole. In addition to the overall competition, reports were awarded under four themes: Climate change, biodiversity, human rights, and the SME of the year.

This year, the winner of the overall competition was Stora Enso Oyj with its report Sustainability 2021. The company's comprehensive report stood out in a positive light in different areas of the competition. The jury emphasised the importance of assurance done by an external independent expert. In addition, the authors were praised for taking double materiality and impacts on biodiversity into account and for setting goals with different time frames.

The winner in the climate change category was Elisa Oyj, in the biodiversity category, Tornator Oyj, in the human rights category, Neste Oyj, and in the SME category, Spinnova Oyj.

Clear developments in sustainability reporting

This year, the jury particularly emphasised good governance and capacity to meet future reporting requirements under the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. The jury also stressed in its assessment that the reader of the report should easily find relevant information related to the company in comprehensible form. Efforts to improve readability and transparency are worth making as reporting is becoming more standardised and more easily comparable.

The jury found room for improvement particularly as regards double materiality: This theme is still given less attention in the analyses of most reporting companies. The jury encourages companies to prepare for reporting in accordance with requirements and to be transparent in risk assessments.

The Sustainability Reporting Awards are organised by the Aalto University School of Business, the Climate Leadership Coalition, FIBS Corporate Responsibility Network, Finland’s Sustainable Investment Forum (Finsif), Hanken School of Economics, Nasdaq Helsinki, the Finnish Association of Auditors, YJY – Association for Environmental Management, and the Ministry of the Environment. Sitra is a partner in the organisation of the competition, which was held for the first time in 1996. This year, the best sustainability reports were awarded on 16 November at an event organised at the Aalto University School of Business in Otaniemi.

Further information:
Tiina Puukkoniemi, chair of the organisation group for the Sustainability Reporting Awards appointed by the Finnish Association of Auditors and Partner, Corporate Responsibility Reporting and Assurance Services Leader, PwC, [email protected]

Piia Korri, Coordinator of the Sustainability Reporting Awards, [email protected]

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